God WILL give you more than you can handle
God won't give you more than you can handle? Really? But how much is too much? here is a list of what the Internet calls 'The Top 10 Stressors'
How many of these have you had to deal with? Me? Well let’s see…
The death of a loved one? Yep, my sister died when she was 10 and I was 11. I suppose multiple miscarriages could be included in that too.
Loss of a job... tick.
Financial difficulties? Been there too – and that was perhaps one of the worst, with two young children as a single parent... and no job.
Relationship issues. Well, being married to a manic depressive (not Paul...), and then to a sociopath (not Paul either...) were not easy. Then there are those relationships with work colleagues, family and on social media...
Moving house more than twenty times in my life have been interesting and means I’m pretty good not accumulating ‘stuff’ - especially when I had to manage with only what I could carry in my hands and on my back as I had no home.
Illness and injury? I think 2 ectopic pregnancies with emergency surgery could count there. Emotional problems, post-natal depression and seeing one of my daughter’s cope with anxiety issues.
Traumatic events? Well, yes, mental, physical, and sexual abuse from previous husbands.
I wonder how I made it to 55 yrs. old! But here I am...
Some of it was due to my choices. Some it was just what happened with no one particular to blame. But my best choice was always clinging on to God, knowing that whatever my choices were, and whatever they would lead to, He would be there with me to help me.
I’ve shouted at God and moaned as well as cried oceans of tears, but God has never let go of me and helped me through it all.
Many times, it was never God giving me more than I could handle. It was God allowing me to be a flawed and failing human being who made some really terrible choices in life. Some good ones - like marrying Paul - but also some stupid ones like bunking off school, and so leaving with practically no qualifications.
But here I am - a Reader who has taken ‘A levels’, then studied at degree level for 3 years and gone on to do post-grad studies in Ecological theology and Celtic studies.
So, does God really never give us more than we can handle?
It’s no surprise that, when difficulty arises, this phrase gets tossed out there like a ‘Scripture bomb’. It sounds compelling, it does remind us of God’s care and concern for each of us. After all, He knows exactly the number of follicles growing out of your cranium..
But it’s because God loves us and knows us that He DOES give us more than we can handle. After all, don’t we have a tendency to think that we can do everything on our own? Our pride has a way of dragging us down: as Proverbs 16 says
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
To remind us we need a Saviour, God allows us to see just how much we CAN’T handle.
It’s happened throughout time. He shoved Elijah’s back to the wall and made him depend upon birds for his food. He gave Moses 600,000 impossible-to-please travellers to guide through the desert. He tasked a small group of Apostles with spreading the gospel all over the world.
And He’ll give you WAY more than you can handle on your own, just as he gave me...
Of course, there is nothing wrong with being encouraging, and wanting to give someone hope in tough times. After all, St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:13:
No testing (temptation) has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.
There are at least two things St. Paul is addressing...
First, our natural temptation to do things that are destructive to ourselves. Second, that we are NOT on our own when we face those temptations.
God gives us a choice. A choice to admit that we can’t help ourselves and that we need Him.
Unfortunately, asking for help is often seen as a weakness, isn’t it? We want to be self-sufficient, or buy self-help books, deal with it on our own. But there are times in our lives where asking for help is the bravest thing we can do and asking God for help is the first step we should take.
Like most human beings, at some point we will face things that are more than we can handle. God’s promise is not that we won’t go through hard times but that at all times, good or bad, God wants to be our help and our strength.
It’s not that God won’t give you more than you can handle, but that God will help you handle all that you’re going through.
In fact, the Bible teaches that at times, God does give people more far more than they can handle. Like Elijah, Moses the disciples and even St Paul himself. In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul says that he and his companions were
“so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.”
He continues by saying,
“Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again.”
Later in that same letter to Corinth he says this:
If God did this for St Paul, then be sure He can do it for us too.